2012 year in review: October – December

Published 7:22 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013


O.P. Earle aims for paddleball world record

A total of 449 Landrum students gathered on the field of O.P. Earle Elementary with artist-in-residence Steve Langley and P.E. teacher Laura Dickson to break a world record for playing with paddleballs.

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County/Columbus water line complete

The water line connecting Polk County’s Mill Spring well source and the Town of Columbus’ water system is complete, marking the first time all the towns and the county could share water sources.

Norfolk Southern exhibit car in Landrum

Norfolk Southern celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with a tour of an exhibit car across 10 states and 15 cities, including Landrum.

WCCA honors Cool Mama Bakery owner

Martha Graber, owner of Cool Mama Bakery, was named Western Carolina Community Action’s self-sufficiency client of the year. Graber used WCCA’s assistance to launch her bakery business, which now supplies loaves of bread and highly-popular cinnamon rolls to area businesses.

New county board majority brings big changes

A new republican majority elected to the Polk County Board of Commissioners made big changes their first night in office. The first was to appoint high-vote getter Michael Gage as the chair of the board. They also appointed Marche Pittman as interim county manager and Bailey Nager as interim county attorney. Then the majority also voted to reverse a decision to raise county employee deductibles and copays.

Polk banks over 30 percent fund balance

Polk County reported a healthy fund balance as of June 30, 2012 with $6,839,732 available for appropriations, or 30.57 percent.

College student struck, killed on I-26

A 22-year old college student was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer Dec. 3 while traveling home to Kansas for the holidays. David Winter, who was reportedly staying in Mill Spring with a friend, was struck and killed while outside his vehicle near the 57-mile marker near Saluda.

Polk gets $50k offer on Jervey-Palmer building

After the Town of Tryon decided not to take ownership of the Jervey-Palmer building, the Polk County Board of Commissioners received a $50,000 bid from Daystar Industries on the property.

Tryon’s finances improving, audit says

Although the Town of Tryon finished fiscal year 2011-2012 with negative fund balances in three departments, the overall general fund balance increased to 15.67 percent, according to audit reports.

Murder suspect arrested for breaking and entering

After bonding out of jail in Henderson County on murder charges, a Saluda man was arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office suspected of breaking and entering a Saluda Township residence. Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill said on Dec. 7 deputies were dispatched to a breaking and entering in progress along Laurel Drive in Saluda.

Reid completes Manchester’s final volume

Paul Reid of Tryon held a book signing at The Book Shelf of “The Last Lion” the final in a three-part biographical series about Winston Churchill. Reid helped complete the final volume for friend and original author William Manchester who passed away in 2004. Manchester wrote the first volume in the 1980s. Reid will speak at the Tryon Fine Arts Center, sponsored by Lanier Library, on Jan. 13.

Tryon considers new septic tank dumping policy

The Town of Tryon is considering changing its policy regarding pumping septic tanks belonging to in-town residents who do not have city sewer. Currently Tryon pays to have septic tanks pumped out, but is now questioning if that service should continue if the residents don’t pay a sewer fee.

Problems discovered with joint water interconnect

The City of Saluda cannot send water to the towns of Columbus and Tryon without straining its water system, officials said Dec. 11. An engineering report showed that the joint project between Columbus, Saluda and Tryon, which ran a water line in order for the towns to share water sources, is faulty. Although Columbus and Tryon could send water to Saluda, Saluda will not be able to send the maximum amount of water down the mountain without major changes.

Commissioners’ $185k gets sheriff five new cars 

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has ordered five new vehicles after commissioners took $185,000 out of the county’s fund balance to get the fleet up to date.

The sheriff’s office ordered two Ford SUV Interceptors from Stott’s Ford and three Dodge Chargers from Golf Dodge.

Preparing schools for emergencies

Parents all over the country likely hugged their children a little tighter dropping them off at school following the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Friday, Dec. 14.

The events sparked area parents to ask how safe locals schools are and if there is anything that needs to change. Both District One schools in South Carolina and Polk County schools began reviewing procedures on Monday, Dec. 17.

Landrum works to lower cost of depot project

Landrum City Council members stopped short of awarding a contract to Daniel Owens Contracting for renovations to the city’s historic depot last week. Council members want to work to lower the costs of the project.

Polk board of adjustment hears dog appeal

The Polk County Board of Adjustment heard testimony on Dec. 18 regarding a pit bull owner appealing the animal control officer’s decision to deem his dogs as potentially dangerous.

Reindeer Games collect 1,700 cans of food

Crest High School won the reindeer roundup award for donating more than 400 cans of food during the Polk County High School’s Reindeer Games held Dec. 19. The annual Reindeer Games, a track and field event, is held to benefit Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry. Not to be outdone, PCHS students purchased more than 400 cans to come back and beat Crest’s total after the event.

Tryon approves water shortage response plan

The Town of Tryon approved an updated water shortage response plan this week after more than a year of concerns with the state’s recommended restrictions during times of drought.

Polk County sixth lowest unemployment rate in state

Employment numbers for Polk County put the county with the sixth lowest rate in North Carolina. Polk’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in October. Polk has 9,399 individuals in its work force; 639 of those are unemployed.

Columbus restricts group homes to ½ mile apart

Family care or group homes will have to remain a minimum of half a mile apart in Columbus. Columbus Town Council met Thursday, Dec. 20 and approved amendments to it zoning ordinance and use table. The town first approved an amendment to allow group homes, which is required by state and federal law, in all residential districts.

Columbus police assist in federal identity theft investigation

The Columbus Police Department assisted the United States Department of State with an investigation of identity theft. Columbus police arrested John Blake on Oct. 31, 2009 under the alias of Douglas Scott Baker for driving while impaired. What the department discovered later was that Blake had been living under an assumed and fraudulent identity for nearly 30 years, committing many criminal offenses.

Tryon Theatre goes digital

The next time area residents see a flick at the historic Tryon Movie Theatre they will see it in digital. Tryon Theatre owner Barry Flood installed a Christie digital projector with updated sound and updated projections in December. The theater reopened Jan. 2 with “Wreck It Ralph.”